Tag: Ghana

Director of Diaspora Affairs Welcomes Director of Graduate Studies, African Studies, Howard University

On the 28th of July 2022, Director of Diaspora Affairs Mr. Akwasi Awua-Ababio welcomed Professor Msia Clark, Director of Graduate Studies of the African Studies program at Howard University, Washington DC to his office at the presidency.

Prof. Clark introduced herself and explained the purpose of her visit as one of facilitating connections between the African Studies department at Howard University and several institutions across the African continent. Through these connections, she is of the expectation that support systems can be developed where students from the country could be aided by means of funding to pursue their studies at Howard. Moreover, the support systems would also include Howard students who intend to pursue research studies in Ghana.

Responding to her proposals, Mr. Ababio welcomed the potential partnership as one which fits the office of Diaspora Affairs’ mandate of reaching out and supporting the African diaspora. He emphasised the office’s support of a potential collaboration. Mr. Ababio shared with Prof. Clark that the major challenge of Ghanaian students admitted to schools in the USA was overcoming the initial hurdles to actually get there. However once in their respective schools, Ghanaian students were innovative to maintain themselves in their schools. As a means of lessening some of these challenges, Mr. Ababio suggested the University could talk to potential organisations and work places which would employ such students in fields connected to their studies thereby allowing them to make some money to take care of some expenses.

Prof. Clark welcomed the suggestion as one she would put before the Chairperson of African Studies. She also mentioned the impact of the Year of Return as one which has got Black circles in the diaspora talking and engaging with Ghana. She further extended the courtesy to have Mr. Ababio as a guest of the department of African Studies whenever he is to find himself in Washington DC.

In their company were two incoming Howard PhD students from Ghana -Amartey Rashid Laryea and Yaw Mankatah Asare.

Kweku Andoh Sustainability Institute Opens in Liate Wote

On the 16th of October, 2021, the Kweku Andoh Sustainability Institute (KASI) was opened to an audience from the country and the diaspora. Situated in Liate Wote in the Volta Region which is also home to Ghana’s tallest mountain Afadjato, the sustainability institute was built by the HABESHA (Helping Afrika By Establishing Schools Home and Abroad) organisation which is made up of a number of Afrikans from the diaspora currently living in Ghana. The opening of the Institute was graced by the chief, elders and community people from Liate Wote who treated the invited guests to some cultural performances.

Some cultural performance by the community

Speaking to the gathered audience, the Executive Director of HABESHA, Cashawn Myers, informed the audience of the journey to bring the dream into reality. The project, he shared has taken five years and brought together a wide range of locals with expertise in various skills to complete. KASI, he further added, is designed to be a research institute where Afrikans globally can come and learn indigenous knowledge. He went on to give invited guests a tour of the Institute.

Executive Director, Cashawn Myers, Honours Some Workers Who Helped Bring the Project into Completion

The Institute which sits on about six acres of land, has facilities which include a bamboo pavilion for workshops, five earth domes built of laterite using a patented machine from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). These are living spaces. Four additional storey buildings are featured for accomodation, kitchen, and classrooms. The Institute also houses a farm, a solar park, which powers the entire facility, a bamboo tree house and groove which allows for tenting and camping.

Invited Guests Are Treated to a Tour of the Insititute

KASI is named in honor of world-renowned Ghanaian ethno-botanist Dr. A. Kweku Andoh. Dr. Andoh was dedicated to research in ethno-botany and traditional medicine and he was dedicated to Ghana. KASI aims to shape the future of Afrikans through learning and sharing of indigenous knowledge and information systems of housing development, renewal energy, water conservation, and traditional medicine/healing, and the arts. For US by US.

Some Guests Before the Domes on the Facility
Executive Director, Cashawn Myers had earlier met with Director, Akwasi Awua Ababio to share the project with

Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs Meets with Africa’s Most Influential Youtuber, Wode Maya

Africa’s Popular Youtuber, Wode Maya honoured an invitation by Director, Diaspora Affairs to the visit the office at Jubilee House. In the meeting, Wode Maya shared his experiences as a Diasporan in China which led him to move back to Ghana and begin to show a different narrative of Africa. For Wode Maya, which means “My Mother” in Mandarin, and also his youtube channel name, sharing these narratives has always been a passion.

This passion Wode Maya explained has inspiration stemming from wanting to see a better and a positive narrative of Africa. Wode Maya, further expressed that he is always humbled by the reception he gets especially by many Africans in the Diaspora, some of whom have made the journey to Africa by watching and engaging with his videos.

Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio responded by congratulating Wode Maya for his good works promoting Ghana and Africa to the world and also by being a conduit through whom many get to experience and engage Ghana and the African continent. He further went to assure Wode Maya of the office’s support toward’s his efforts in engaging the Diaspora.

Akwasi Awua-Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs Gives Keynote Address as the Grand Opening of the African Diaspora Business and Cultural Centre in Accra

Mr. Akwasi Awua-Ababio, Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President gave the keynote address at the grand opening of the African Diaspora Business and Cultural Center in Accra Ghana on Spintex Road as part of activties on Juneteenth Emancipation Day, 2021. The event was hosted by Ministry of the Future and Drodai Company Limited.

In his address, Mr. Ababio made note that the Year of Return was based of the Right of Africans in the DIaspora have to return. The Year of Return, he continued gave birth to Beyond the Return which is an initiative to push the successes of the Year of Return in a more meaningful manner. However, the covid pandemic had been a setback for planned activities.

Mr. Ababio also made the connection between the Return of people in the Diaspora and Ghana’s economic emancipation capsuled in Ghana Beyond Aid agenda. According to Mr. Ababio in his address, The Return of the Diaspora is however not only for Ghana to rely on its Brothers and Sisters for their skills and resources but also to ensure the DIaspora is brought home and re-integrated.

Mr. Ababio further expressed his gratitude for the opening of the African Diaspora Business and Cultural Centre which will help shine light on how Ghana can move forward with the Diaspora.

Watch the full address below:

Diaspora Lodging Network: Palace Afrika

You are in Ghana. You are trying to find and create home. There is a plethora of hotels and lodgings yet you need a place to stay, and not just any place, a family and network of people to hold and support you while you transition and try to make Ghana home. This is where Palace Afrika places itself. Situated at Oyarifa, on the highway towards the Aburi mountains and about 40minutes away from Kotoka International Airport, Palace Afrika is a family lodge created by Prince Agbemble to facilitate that integral process of Diasporan connection and re-integration to Ghana.

Standard Room at Palace Afrika
Sitting Room in Apartments

When one gets to Palace Afrika, one is drawn into the lodge by the bright colours adorning the walls. A network of plants carefully planted and placed in pots adds to the rich colourful tapestry of the space. A testament to Afrikan cultures also is depicted in the bas-relief sculptures emanating from the walls. Living spaces sit on either side of the facility allowing for a courtyard space which hosts the central kitchen and a communal eating space serving as its spine. It is here, Prince invites people to come host their events in the spirit of ubuntu. Should one decide to stay, the lodge has rooms designed for various needs. There are apartments in the lodge should one come as a group. The apartments hosts two bedrooms with toilets and baths, a living area and a kitchen. Single rooms with toilets and baths are also featured as well as a studio apartment and a gym. One will be amazed how a single plot of land is able to host all these which stand in testament to Prince’s creativity.

Communal Eating Space

In a country where many would feel the need to leave to seek greener pastures, Prince is always keen to share his story which is quite the opposite. Having spent a copious amount of time outside the shores of Ghana, Prince decided to return and create something in Ghana, his land of birth. He expresses quite gleefully “Many people think I made my money outside. No, I made my money here” meaning Ghana. Prince upon returning to Ghana managed a few gyms in Accra as well as trained a few personal clients. It is from this venture he made his money to create Palace Afrika which now seeks to help others who move find their foot in the country. For Prince, he wants to see more of Diaspora returnees move out of Accra and create opportunities in other areas other than the capital.

Main Building at Palace Afrika

The Director of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Akwasi Awua-Ababio honoured an invitation by Prince and met with him, musician Zakisha Brown and a few sisters from the Diaspora in the lodge over a delightful vegan meal prepared by Chef Imara at the lodge. In hearty conversations, Mr. Ababio amongst many other things expressed his gratitude to Prince for creating such a space to support the Diaspora. Other returnees who had stayed and were staying at the lodge expressed similar sentiments about how homey and helpful staying at the lodge has been.

From Left: Yaw Asare, Prince Agbemble (Owner of Palace Afrika), Zakisha Brown, Mr. Akwasi Awua-Ababio (Director, Diaspora Affairs), Sherrie Bumbray, Asma York, Imara Solwasi (Chef), Derrick

To sum up, let me quote Nana Patrice Lumumba’s words which is emboldened on the wall of one of the bedrooms in Palace Afrika. It says “Afrikan unity and solidarity are no longer dreams. They must be expressed in Decisions” and Palace Afrika is such a spatial family decision created by us and for us.

Prince (Palace Afrika) can be contacted via email at palaceafrika@gmail.com and can be followed on Instagram @palaceafrikalodge_ghana.

Parking Space Inside the Lodge

Diaspora Affairs Hosts High Profile Delegates from eSwatini

Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President hosted a High Profile Delegation from eSwatini on 7th June, 2021 in the Auditorium at Jubilee House. The team made up of government officials from eSwatini were led by Ms. Jennifer Neves, Under Secretary – Administration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to learn about Ghana’s strategies towards effective mobilising of the Diaspora.

Welcoming the team to Jubilee House, the Director of Diaspora Affairs Mr. Akwasi Awua-Ababio mentioned the Diaspora was a huge asset and the biggest asset any country has outside of its shores. Thus it was important to effectively strategise to leverage this resource in ways which are mutually beneficial. He further elaborated some ways which Ghana has engaged the Diaspora including the Diaspora Roadshow events and the Homecoming Summit.

Ms. Jennifer Neves also shared the excitement of the team as they were learning a lot in Ghana and mentioned her team was eager to go back home and apply many things they have learnt from Ghana.

In an engaging question and answer session, some issues which arose included how Ghana has been able to manage the trust deficits between home countries and their Diaspora to which Mr. Ababio responded it was important to at all times utilise consultations and stakeholder engagements to allow for the Diaspora to feel included in governance and policy formulation. Moreover, there were discussions around the operations of the Office as well as how to effectively collate a comprehensive database of one’s diaspora.

Deputy-Director, Mad. Nadia Adongo Musah also shared some of the work Diaspora Affairs has done thus far and encouraged the team to push to have their Diaspora champion causes for their Diaspora.


A Working Visit to Complete Farmer: Digital Remote Farming from Seed to Market

The 28th of April, 2021 saw the Director of Diaspora Affairs, Akwasi Awua Ababio pay a working visit to the office of Complete Farmer in East Legon, Accra. This followed a visit by the founder Desmond Koney to the Jubilee House a week prior to introduce his platform to the Office.  Complete Farmer founded by Ghanaian, Desmond Koney is an end to end digital agriculture platform which enables industries across the globe to source for agriculture commodities and also allows for individuals to participate in the agriculture value chain. The company is made up of a pan African team of young professionals from engineering, business, agronomy, finance and marketing backgrounds.

Giving Mr. Ababio a tour of their office, Desmond Koney explained how the platform works. Users sign up on the website and select which crops they would want to farm as well as the acreage, all from the comfort of being behind their digital devices. With over 12,000 acres of farm cultivation across Ghana, Complete Farmer takes this request and outsources the farming project to their farmers, about 350 in number. Farms are selected and cultivated on based on extensive research and data to ensure high quality yield. The platform uses satelites and sensors allowing for users to view and get comprehensive updates on their farms at any place and at any point in time. Upon harvest, users are notified. The platform not only includes farmers but a buyer market place as well. Thus, users are assured of buyers and can also determine how many bags they would want to sell and to whom. Complete Farmer currently ships high quality agriculture produce to the Netherlands, Germany, China, India, Sinagapore and United Arab Emirates. The platform currently farms soy beans, maize, ginger, carrots, sweet potatoes, chilli pepper, groundnuts, cassava, sesame seeds and pineapple.

The Director of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Ababio commended Desmond Koney and his team for instituting such an initiative in agriculture. As this initiative also intersects with the Government of Ghana’s drive to encourage agriculture, Mr. Ababio assured Desmond Koney of support from the Government. He also mentioned the platform is an initiative which can be recommended to people in the diaspora as it will allow for those not in Ghana to be able to invest in farming without being here. Moreover, those in the country who would want to get into farming but do not want to get into the physical act could also take advantage of the platform. Mr. Ababio further assured Complete Farmer of the support and future engagement with Diaspora Affairs to introduce the platform to members of the Diaspora.

Orientation Programme for Newly Appointed Ambassadors and High Commisioners

In preparation for the newly appointed Ambassadors and High Commisioners to represent Ghana abroad, the DIrector of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio was invited to make a presentation on the topic “Diaspora Engagement for Development” on Wednesday, 14th April, 2021 at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in the Dr. Obed Asamoah Conference Room.

The Director during his submission reiterated the importance of the Diaspora to Ghana as they carry powerful assets which when harnessed can help transform the nation. Mr. Awua further highlighted the important role the Office of Diaspora Affairs plays in ensuring there is a framework which can be structured and instituted to allow the country effectively engage and include the Diaspora in nation building. Moreover, the Office he mentioned was working with the National Identification Authority to make a database of Ghanaians living in the Diaspora.

As a result, he shared with the newly appointed envoys the Diaspora Engagement Policy which is in the pipeline, a comprehensive document which had been compiled following stakeholder consultations in various countries including the United States, France, Germany, U.K., Canada and Nigeria. Mr. Ababio urged the Ambassadors and High Commisioners designates to make it a point to reach out to the Ghanaian Diaspora and to make Ghana a place of interest for them not only to move back but at the very least invest in financially. The historical Diaspora was not left out of the discussion. Here, Mr. Ababio mentioned the country may have to in the forseeable future develop an orientation programme to better manage the expectations of all those who desire to return or move to Ghana.

In an engaging question and answer session with the newly appointed envoys, some issues raised included: addressing issues of irregular migrations; ensuring Ghanaians in the diaspora can vote; dual citizenship; and an appeal to have the country be cautious in how it deals with the identities of others who have been called to return to Ghana. An appeal was also made to have Diaspora Affairs work closely with Ghana’s missions abroad.

Mr. Ababio further briefed the Designates on the Year of Return, its successes and challenges and further highlighted the Beyond the Return agenda.




Zakisha Brown meets with Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio, Director, Diaspora Affairs

Canadian-born Jamaican artist Zakisha Brown paid the Director a visit on Wednesday, 7th April 2021. The meeting had her express her profound admiration and appreciation towards Ghana, springing from the Year of Return 2019 which was the catalyst for her coming to Ghana. Zakisha mentioned staying for three months then she fell in love with the country that when she left she made the hit song Went to Ghana, which points to some of her experiences and observations in the country. Zakisha also mentioned she is currently working on her debut album as well as filming the visuals in Ghana. She also mentioned she is into some community service projects which includes workshops for teenagers in schools as well partaking in some beach clean ups as well as farming.

The Director of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Akwasi Awua Ababio on the receiving end thanked Zakisha for making it a point to come visit and introduce herself to the office. He also expressed gratitude that Zakisha amongst many had responded to the clarion call put out by Ghana to have the Diaspora come engage and interact with Africa through Ghana. Zakisha’s story is a testament to the success of the Year of Return which has now morphed to become Beyond the Return to help the country consolidate the gains made from the event. This visit, for the Director, was the first of many mutual interactions and engagements with the Office and Zakisha.